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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keegan

Ailing Aldrich still struggling

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2009 KU-Michigan

Reader poll

Which were you most disappointed in after KU's 75-64 win over Michigan?

  • KU's rebounding 18% 272 votes
  • KU's turnovers 77% 1138 votes
  • Undecided 4% 64 votes

1474 total votes.

On Michigan’s second possession, DeShawn Sims drove to the hoop, put up a shot, and Cole Aldrich swatted it with authority. After a whistle at the other end, Michigan coach John Beilein, hands clapping furiously, encouraged his 6-foot-8 center: “Keep challenging him. Keep challenging him.”

Sims’ nodding head affirmed the instruction, but his retreating eyes said something along the lines of, “Easy for you to say.”

Aldrich, it seemed, was on his way to dominating, except it didn’t work out that way in Saturday’s 75-64 Kansas victory.

Scoreless for the first 10 minutes, Sims finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Failing to make a field goal for the first time since the 2008 national-title game, Aldrich tallied five points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.

As has been the case so often, Aldrich spent a lot of time coughing into his jersey and trying to catch his breath. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots and is shooting .541. His sophomore averages: 14.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, .598 shooting.

With the improvement of Marcus Morris and the addition of Xavier Henry, Aldrich isn’t needed as much as a scorer and has more help as a rebounder, but there is more to it. He hasn’t played as aggressively and attempted just three field goals Saturday.

“We can say we didn’t get the ball to him,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I don’t know if he did much to really put himself in positions to score today. He’s a lot better than he’s played. He ended up getting some rebounds and that kind of stuff, but he obviously hasn’t scored well this year, except for the Memphis game. ... He’s just not making shots. He’s probably not as confident as what he needs to be. And that’ll change. He’s a really good player. He just hasn’t played to that the last few games.”

Self, just as Aldrich never would, didn’t volunteer what could be the cause of his center’s sluggish play. The coach had to be asked: Is he still sick?

“He’s been fighting a bug,” Self said. “But one thing about Cole — he’s the best kid — he’ll never make an excuse. Never. And today, Sims was a tough matchup for him because he gets him away from the basket and drives him, but still Cole knows he can score better and be more of a presence for us. He’s had a bug, but the thing about it is, if you play, you have to perform. Nobody cares if you’ve got a cold or a bum knee. If you’re out there, you’ve got to do the job. He understands that.”

What’s wrong with Cole?

“The big fella just ain’t himself right now,” senior guard Sherron Collins said. “He’s not playing too well. He’s probably in a little funk right now. I know Cole. He’ll bounce out of it. He’ll be all right.”

Is he still sick?

“He’s been using his inhaler, his asthma pump a lot,” Collins said. “He’s gasping for more air out there. He’s getting tired more quickly.”

Said junior Brady Morningstar: “There’s just a lid on the goal right now. ... But hey, if he could score now or score at the end of the year, I’d rather have him score at the end of the year.”

Exactly 346 other D-I teams would love to own the challenge of how to nurture Aldrich back to dominance.

Comments

AsadZ 10 years, 1 month ago

Coach needs to send him a stronger message just like he did to TT. I bet his game will improve.

loudog 10 years, 1 month ago

Unlike football, going undefeated in basketball is overrated and unnecessary. I would rather see this team build off of a tough loss and dominate the tournament than go undefeated regular season then not make it to the final four.

I'm not saying I want them to lose, but if they're going to, I'd rather it was during the regular season.

Joel Thomas 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree, maybe Cole just needs to really rest so he can get completely over this bug. In the interim, Robinson, both Morrises, and Withey can get valuable minutes (I don't think that type of lineup combination is too big of a drop off considering Cole's current performance). Cole doesn't seem to be one in need of a tough lesson from Self a la Tyshawn.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 1 month ago

I didn't know he had asthma. If that is the case then this is a very serious situation and not something he can just put away and "get over." For the love of Jesus I sure hope the staff is addressing this situation. It is something to deal with and he will not conquer on his own. Fans need to understand this and stop getting on him. It all adds up now with him being asthmatic.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Having asthma makes one more susceptible to lung illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia, both of which are complications from the flu. Not that any of that is affecting Cole, but having asthma puts him at a higher risk. Aside from that, asthma restricts oxygen levels which will cause one to fatigue much quicker and not have "normal" energy.

When he's out there he's gotta play to his capabilities, regardless, but being and asthma sufferer myself, I certainly can feel for the guy. He's battling every big guy's best game along with his own lungs.

Keep your head up Cole. You're the best center in the country. Your shots will fall. We all know it.

addlime 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree, keithmiles05, this is serious. I had mono in high school, and looked like cole (rings under eyes, etc.) for the better part of the school year. I didn't really get better until a few weeks after I left the basketball team. He may have a really hard time recovering during the course of the season, especially because he's a tough minnesotan kid. The other thing is I didn't test positive for mono until after the whole episode was over. While I was really sick, no one could figure out what it was. Mono is a funny thing...

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

Sunday Pre Christmas Sale:

} The Cole-has-mono-argument is deeply discounted before Christmas, because it only explains so much. Here's the problem. Even when healthy, Cole has always had trouble with athletic post men who can pull him away from the basket with their jump shooting, and can also blow by him with their dribble drives. The guy at Aridzona last year was a prime example. Cole couldn't really handle him at all. DeShawn Sims of UM was even quicker. Cole can handle the either/or center. He can handle either the center who stays on the blocks and muscles, or the one that likes to play away from the basket, but he can't handle a guy who does both and drives to the iron, too. It is a hole in his game, like BRush's left was a hole in his game. Cole would have to stay another year to really fix it.

} Give some store credit to Beillein, a wily old coach, who just said, okay, lets let your bigs chase us around for 40 and see how long their lungs hold up carrying all that height and Hudy-ized muscle mass around. Not like Beillein had much of a choice either. UM's bigs aren't. But he did get his bigs moving and KU's bigs got tired in the second half. The reason we couldn't blow the game open was our bigs got tired and TRob couldn't do diddly as a reserve for fully 12 minutes. We need Withey badly and it looks like it is going to be quite awhile before he gets significant minutes.

} “We can say we didn’t get the ball to him,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I don’t know if he did much to really put himself in positions to score today." Exactly. Cole was probably suffering finals hangover, some bug, and a highly mobile big. Cole's own words over the years indicate he is a fellow who needs a lot of focus to play his best. Tests, bugs, and mobile bigs probably scattered him. He should bounce back, unless the mono explanation proves out in which case the "special season" will probably slowly wind down to one without Cole.

} If Cole does have mono and it does overcome him, there could be a clearance sale on the play big and pound it inside game. Self's decision about how to play the rest of the season would be a fascinating one. There would be strong temptation to turn this season into a Sherron and Xavier show. Sherron and Xavier might each be getting 20 FGAs a game. The team may turn into an alternation between Sherron penetrating like last year one trip, and the side clearing out for Xavier the next trip. It would also be interesting to see if Self decides to pull a redshirt from either Little, or Releford.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 1 month ago

i think we have to believe in the fact that Cole Aldrich is not the second coming of Wilt, Danny or any of the other top big men in KU history. he is who he is. and yesterday, he was exposed again, for not being able to guard athletic big men.

Good grief, he missed a point blank layup yesterday. Once he accepts who he is, then we can all get on with our lives.

Cole is a good player, and in a lot of cases, a very good shot blocker. but that's it. He will not carry us to a national championship. He needs help.

Herb Derpson 10 years, 1 month ago

@jaybate..... Nice job d-bag. Where has there ever been anything mentioned about Cole having mono until you brought it up ?

thmdmph 10 years, 1 month ago

kupainter. addlime (anonymous) says... "I agree, keithmiles05, this is serious. I had mono in high school, and looked like cole (rings under eyes, etc.) for the better part of the school year."

I also remember over the past month, there were several posts saying he may have mono. Nothing that came close to being confirmed, but it floated around.

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

ku_painter,

Do you have a sphincter for a mouth?

Or a colon for a throat?

Do you speak in broken wind? :-)

Calling me a you know what for commenting on other posters' speculations in this thread on Cole maybe having mono makes me ask these and other questions that would be inappropriate for a family audience.

Besides pico-brain, since when is mononucleosis a taboo on a par with STDs?

You are not one of these persons who forbids all rational discussion of disease and bodily functions, are you?

Well, no, of course, not, because you called me a you know what, right? :-)

yates33333 10 years, 1 month ago

If Cole doesn't improve, health and playing, we can forget about a national championship. Did you watch the Texas v. UNC game? Have you seen Syracuse and Kentucky? Here is a possible final four. Go to the doctor. Come on big fella we need you badly.

yates33333 10 years, 1 month ago

By the way, lay off of Jaybate. He is the best analyst on these postings. Go Jaybate!!

JHWK 10 years, 1 month ago

No question that Cole's not been a factor offensively, except in St. Louis. Right now Cole's not even a 3rd team All-American, and I'd be surprised if he makes it. There was never any rationale to why he'd be POTY. Seems that the talking heads expected his improvement b/w So. and Jr. year to be the same as Fr. and So. It isn't that he improved that much, we just lost 2 of the best bigs in the NCAA after we won it all!

Cole's great - just not the 'best big man in the country' as many, including HCBS, tagged him pre-season.

Regardless, he'll be there down the stretch when he gets his legs and confidence. Rock Chalk!

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

Firebirdguy31,

Oooooh, I like that: Dr. jaybate.

Alas, ku_painter requires a specialist--a proctologist, I reckon.

No, I could never be a procto, not in a million years.

Well, wait, everyone has a price.

If my becoming a proctologist would ensure Bill Self were to break John Wooden's record for consecutive rings, I would do my part and sacrifice for The Legacy.

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

yates33333,

As always, thanks for the help defense.

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

LAJayhawk5,

Lancing your rhoids again, I see. Wait to post until a half hour after doing it. It will make you seem less vile than you are. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

RckChalkJeff 10 years, 1 month ago

jaybate news service?? Wow you are lame. Do you not get any kind of validation from any other aspect of your pathetic life?

UmbertoConforti 10 years, 1 month ago

Admit it, Jaybate makes you turds look like, well .... turds.

gthejayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate, they know not who they are messing with. For those of us who love your dissecting of all sports Crimson and Blue, we apprecite your opinions!

Steve Brown 10 years, 1 month ago

weeks ago I suggested mono, bird flu, lyme, just guessing as something was putting lead in his boots, (less oxygen) and at that time didn't recall anyone else even mentioning his health. later we watch him on sidelines continuing to cough in his towel, and 'appear' to have lost a step ... could be anything, does his roomie have a cat?

team needs him 100%, more importantly his health 4 his own good needs him 100%.

Greg Lux 10 years ago

Ok Cole is a little ill ... Whats wrong with the twins? ... they can't jump .. they can't finish .. they throw the ball at the basket .. have not dunked a ball in game'S!!! Whats up with them? Are there tattoo's to heavy to let them jump? Ever since the Philly game they have been almost worthless on the floor.. I am a big fan of there efforts but something is wrong with them... anyone know?

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